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The Council of the University of the West Indies, at an extraordinary session held at the Sherbourne Centre in Barbados on Saturday, December 13, 2003 appointed Professor Eon Nigel Harris to succeed Professor the Hon Rex Nettleford as Vice Chancellor.

A Guyanese by birth, Professor Harris is currently Dean and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs at Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta, USA. He is internationally known for his work as a Rheumatologist. With colleagues in London, he helped to define a disorder which they called the Antiphospholipid Syndrome and devised a diagnostic test (the anticardiolipin test) for it. For this work he shared with Dr Graham Hughes and Dr Aziz Gharavi of Hammersmith Hospital the Ceiba-Geigy Prize. Over 150 papers, editorials, reviews and chapters on this subject have been published by Professor Harris. He joined the University of Louisville, Kentucky, in 1987 and by 1993 became Professor of Medicine and Chief of the Division of Rheumatology. There he launched the Antiphospholipid Standardisation Laboratory which leads worldwide efforts in standardisation of the anticardiolipin test and distributing these standards to over 500 laboratories worldwide. The laboratory currently operates from the Morehouse School of Medicine and continues to attract international fellows.

His academic achievements and personal qualities have earned Professor Harris national leadership positions in organisations such as the Association of American Medical Colleges, the National Centre for Research Resources (NCCR) and the Association of Academic Health Centres. He has received many Honours and Awards, including the Centennial Award for Contributions to Medicine of the National Medical Association of America in 1995.

Professor Harris graduated magna cum laude from Howard University, with a degree in Chemistry and proceeded on a fellowship to Yale University, where he received a Master of Philosophy degree in Biochemistry. He earned his medical degree from the University of Pennsylvania, completing this within three years and again graduating with honours.

He then returned to the Caribbean where he completed his residency in internal medicine at the University of the West Indies at Mona and was awarded the post-graduate degree, Doctor of Medicine (DM)

In 1996 Professor Harris was appointed Dean and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs at Morehouse School of Medicine where he proved to be an outstanding administrator, well liked by both faculty and students and particularly sensitive to student needs. Since his appointment as Dean publications by the academic staff quadrupled, citations increased nine-fold and research funding doubled.

Professor Harris is married to Dr C. Yvette Williams-Harris, a general internist at the Veteran’s Administration Hospital in Atlanta and they have three children. He is expected to assume the post of Vice-Chancellor on August 1, 2004 when the incumbent, Professor the Hon Rex Nettleford demits office.

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